A five-year-old boy named Charlie witnesses the murder of his mother’s friend and the attempted of his mother. Charlie is able to escape into the cold New York night but has his mother’s blood on him and no shoes on his feet. Hense the title Shoeless Child.
It’s not long before the child ends up in the hospital where his mother is but in a different Ward. The doctors are trying to get Charlie to talk about that night but he won’t say anything.
His mother, Rachel, under heavy sedation, comes and in out of consciousness and is unable to give a full account of what took place. At least not right away.
Detective Kerri Blasco and Detective Alex Brand must try to solve this murder and attempted murder mystery by getting the only witness to the crime to talk; a five-year-old Charlie who is too petrified to speak.
There were three main characters in the book that stood out to me as suspects:
Dr. James Burke, and psychiatrist and Rachel’s employer. She worked as his receptionist. Through Kerri’s and Alex’s questioning of Burker, we get a sense that he had a thing for Rachel.
Scott Mullin was supposed to be Rachel’s date that fateful night but he never showed up. In addition, no one is able to get in touch with him to find out why he didn’t show up.
Frank Wheat, the apartment building’s super where Rachel and her son lived. He also had a thing for Rachel and whenever he saw her he would offer to help her with her groceries, fix things in her apartment or anything else he could do for her.
There were more suspects, but the three mentioned stood out for me. I thought I had the killer pegged until it was revealed who the real culprit was and I was surprised. After the killer was exposed, I went back to parts of the book to see if there were clues I had overlooked and there weren’t any. And the motive? Well, you’ll just have to read the book for yourself to find out.
I personally didn’t care for the book. And I say personally because this was really a ‘me’ thing and nothing to do with the book itself.
I couldn’t connect with the characters at all. Not the detectives, the victim, the child, the witnesses, no one. I found the writing a bit dry and forced. I’ve come across this before with Patricia Cornwell’s Cruel and Unusual, which happened to be book #4 in the Kay Scarpetta series. For Cornwell, I absolutely loved her first three books, Postmortem, Body of Evidence, and All That Remains. I found it hard to pick up another Cornwell book after Cruel and Unusual.
After finishing Schneider’s book I did give it some thought to let the story sink in hopes of time passing I would feel differently, but I didn’t. This is something that happens with readers and has nothing to do with the author themselves. Not every book I read I am going to like. And at times, the issue is more on my side, as with this book, and the issue is on the author’s side.
I do not discourage anyone from reading Shoeless Child (link to purchase the book from Amazon is below). If you’re already a fan of the Kerri Blasco series, continue being such. If you’re new to the series, give this book a try.
As mentioned, my thoughts on the book are strictly on my end. And as mentioned, I’m not going to like every book I read but I am willing to give books a shot.
Shoeless Child by J.A. Schneider
Expected publication date: 24 January 2018 (being a book reviewer I was able to get an advanced copy)
Publisher: RSG Media
You can pre-order the book via the link below.